ANNAPOLIS (Feb. 13, 2008) Governor Martin OMalley today announced Board of Public Works (BPW) approval of a $7 million matching State grant for the design and construction of the new Southern Maryland baseball stadium in Waldorf, Charles County.
Once completed, the stadium will be home to the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, an independent league baseball team and the first professional sports franchise in the Tri-County region. The home opener is scheduled for May 2, 2008.
The stadium will be named Regency Furniture Stadium after the regional retail furniture chain which has four locations, including one in Waldorf. The company reportedly paid $2.88 million for the naming rights for a ten year period.
Working together, the State of Maryland and the residents and community leaders of Charles County are moving forward with one of the most exciting and largest economic development projects in Southern Maryland, said Governor OMalley. This new stadium will generate new jobs, become a tourist attraction for our State and region, and improve the quality of life that we all enjoy as Marylanders.
State economic development officials have estimated that baseball and other events at the stadium will create at least 230 new jobs and generate an estimated $27 million annually in spending in Charles County. In addition to baseball, the stadium will be a venue for concerts, community gatherings and other sporting events throughout the year.
The $26.5 million, 4,500-seat project is being financed by a combination of funding from Charles County, the State and Maryland Baseball, the corporate owner of the team. The ownership team includes former Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson.
Critics of public funding for professional sports stadiums say the spending of taxpayer money for this purpose amounts to corporate welfare.
Last July, Governor OMalley attended the groundbreaking of the Southern Maryland Stadium and Entertainment Complex, along with local elected officials from Charles, Calvert, and St. Marys Counties.
The ballpark architect is Tetra Tech, Inc. of Wilmington, Delaware, which also designed the minor league ballparks in Aberdeen (Ripken Stadium) and Salisbury (Perdue Stadium). The Maryland Stadium Authority was selected as the project manager, while Skanska USA Building Inc., of Rockville is the construction manager.
Minority Business participation on the construction project is 26 percent.
Southern Maryland Bluecrabs website